Pike County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,024. Its county seat is Pikeville. The county was founded in 1821.
Pike is Kentucky’s easternmost county, it is also the state’s largest county in terms of land area. Pike County is the 11th largest county in Kentucky in terms of population preceded by Bullitt County and followed by Christian County. Pike County is Kentucky’s third largest banking center, with financial institutions and holding companies having more than $1 billion in assets. In the five years spanning 1995–2000, personal income increased by 28%, and the county’s per capita income exceeded the national and state average growth rates of the past decade. Pike County is the seventy-first Kentucky county in order of creation.
With regard to the sale of alcohol, it is classified as a moist county—a county in which alcohol sales are prohibited (a dry county), but containing a “wet” city, in this case two cities: Pikeville and Coal Run Village, where package alcohol sales are allowed.
Pike County was founded on December 19, 1821. The county was named for General Zebulon Pike, the explorer who discovered Pikes Peak. Between 1860 and 1891 the Hatfield-McCoy feud raged in Pike and in bordering Mingo County, West Virginia. On May 6, 1893, Pikeville officially became a city and the county seat.
Pike County is also home to Paul E. Patton, former governor of Kentucky.
The Appalachian News Express, published in Pikeville, is preserved on microfilm by the University of Kentucky Libraries. The microfilm holdings are listed in a master negative database on the UK Libraries Preservation and Digital Programs website.
Tourism is also a major source of economic growth in Pike County. In 2012, nearly 300,000 people visited the Breaks Interstate Park on the Kentucky-Virginia border.
Over 1,400 businesses contribute to the growing economy in Pikeville. From 2005 to 2011, downtown Pikeville experienced major growth. The Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center was constructed in 2005 and seats 7,000. It features numerous events including world-renowned concerts and shows. The county is also home to the Pikeville Concert Association which secures renowned cultural events for the area. These events usually take place at Booth Auditorium on the campus of the University of Pikeville.
The Pikeville Medical Center received a $44 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development program in 2010 to construct an eleven-story office building and adjacent parking garage in downtown. Construction was completed in 2014.
The University of Pikeville broke ground on a nine-story building (the Coal Building) on Hambley Boulevard in downtown Pikeville in early 2011 to house the University of Pikeville’s School of Osteopathic Medicine.
In the summer of 2011, Jenny Wiley Theatre group announced their collaboration with the city of Pikeville to construct a 200-seat indoor professional theater in downtown Pikeville. The theatre opened in May 2014.